Millions of South Carolina Social Security numbers and credit and debit card numbers have been exposed by an international hacker. It’s likely the hack will prove enormously expensive for the state.
According to reports, the hack occurred roughly six weeks ago. An international hacker bypassed South Carolina’s Department of Revenue cyber security and accessed 3.6 million Social Security numbers. In addition, about 387,000 credit and debit card numbers were also exposed. Most numbers were encrypted, but many were not.
It took weeks for South Carolina officials to even realize the hack had occurred. Not until October 20 was the security hole closed to attackers.
It’s all left South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley fuming. Although she admitted the hack was “creative in nature,” she said she hopes to see the hacker “slammed to the wall.”
Realistically, it’s more likely that state taxpayers will be paying for the hack. The state has said it will pay for credit and theft identity monitoring services for all taxpayers going back to 1998.
Although it could take a while for hackers to break the encryption, experts acknowledge that there are tools out there capable of exposing protected data.
Looking forward, Haley says South Carolina will need a comprehensive strategy for preventing similar attacks in the future.
“We want to make sure everybody understands that our State will respond with a big, large-scale plan that is somewhat unprecedented to take care of this problem,” Haley said.